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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health

Building capacity for a tobacco-free world

July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA

Thursday, July 13, 2006 - 2:00 PM

Changes in Smoking and Purchase Patterns among a Cohort of Low Income Smokers in Erie County, New York, 2002-2005

Jill Murphy, PhD1, Martin C. Mahoney, MD, PhD2, K. Michael Cummings, PhD, MPH3, Andrew Hyland, PhD3, and James Cooper, MSW2. (1) Health, State University of New York-College at Cortland, PO Box 2000- Graham Ave, 101 Moffett Hall, Cortland, NY 13045, (2) Department of Clinical Prevention, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm and Carlton Streets, Buffalo, NY 14263, (3) Department of Health Behavior, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Elm & Carlton Street, Buffalo, NY 14263

Objective: In 2002, we surveyed adult low-income smokers recruited from the Department of Social Services office in Erie County, New York, then in 2005, we attempted to re-contact 778 of these smokers. Objectives included characterizing longitudinal changes in tobacco use and purchase patterns among this low-income population.

Methods: After 3 years, we reached 315 subjects (40%) with available contact information, and completed structured telephone interviews with 273 subjects (35%). Participants received $10 for completing the telephone survey. Responses from the 2002 and 2005 surveys were compared among subjects who participated in both surveys.

Results: A total of 37 subjects (13.5%) stopped smoking during the three year follow-up period (4.5% per year). Among smokers, the average number of daily cigarettes smoked decreased from 16.2 to 13.8 cigarettes (p<0.01). There was an increase in the proportion of smokers who reported use of another non-cigarette tobacco product (7.7% to 12.3%, p<0.01) and in the use of coupons in response to the increase in cigarette prices (40.7% to 51.5%, p<0.01). During the same time, there were increases in the proportion of smokers who reported they ever used a stop smoking medication (26.9% to 49.7%), ever heard of the New York Smokers' Quitline (32.9% to 73.2%), or ever called the Quitline (4.3% to 11.1%).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that state and local tobacco control policies and programs (i.e. cigarette excise taxes, pharmacotherapy coverage, and Quitline promotions), while being countered by tobacco company promotions, are reducing tobacco use among this low-income population.